Arts/Culture

The WBFO Arts & Culture News Desk is co-funded by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

WBFO News photo by Maggie Fleming

The Music is Art Festival is moving to a new location this year. Buffalo Riverworks will host the 15-year-old festival on September 9.

Buffalo Philharmonic

Eighteen-year-old African American violinist Maria Sanderson is the latest Sphinx Competition Winner and she's coming to Buffalo.

Alleyway

There's a lot to celebrate this week on Theater Talk. First off, WNED/WBFO will be the new presenter of the Annual Artie Awards which since 1991 have recognized excellence in Buffalo theater.

WBFO News

For more than a quarter century, Buffalo has honored the standouts of its theater community with the annual Artie Awards, and this year’s new presenter of the “Arties” is WNED|WBFO.

Mohawk Place hosting Tiny Desk Contest showcase

Feb 27, 2017
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

NPR's All Songs Considered is whittling down the list of submissions for its 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. It's a chance for independent musicians to showcase their work. Coinciding with the contest is a celebration of local talents that will be held inside a downtown Buffalo club.


If you called it a night as soon as La La Land was announced best picture, you didn't get the whole story. Moonlight, in fact, took home that prize.

In a shocking end-of-night twist, La La Land was incorrectly announced as best picture. In the midst of the celebration, La La Land's cast and crew were all smiles as they gathered on stage.

But then, mid-speech, one of La La Land's producers, Jordan Horowitz, had to break the news.

Two excellent offerings this week include AFTER THE REVOLUTION, the second of the three Amy Herzog plays presented this season at by the Jewish Repertory Theatre at the JCC in Getzville and THE COLLECTION by Harold Pinter at Torn Space Theater on Fillmore near Paderewski. Both feature strong emotions, deal with secrets and felt betrayals, although the threats in the Herzog play are not as palpable as they are in the Pinter, where they hang like a miasma, affecting everyone.

McKenna Moran

As demand for his landscape paintings continues to grow, it’s becoming clear that collectors are connecting with Thomas Paquette’s vision of the American vista. “It moves beyond even the representation of this beautiful landscape,” said Sharon Ewing of Philadelphia’s Gross McCleaf Gallery. “He's actually on a mission to make sure that we preserve it.”  It's a mission that is facing challenging times.

Mark Thomas Duggan

This week Theater Talk mentions one of the few plays up in a week of musicals.  Torn Space Theater presents THE COLLECTION by Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter about two couples whose dwellings are separated by an on-stage wall, with, however, telephone connection.

Peter Pfordresher/University at Buffalo

If you watched the Grammy Awards Sunday night, perhaps it inspired fantasies that one day you might march on stage and accept an award for your singing. Or maybe not.

Buffalo Museum of Science

A national holiday that pays tribute guitars of all genres spurred the Buffalo Museum of Science to stage a day-long celebration Saturday.

Lesionread

Buffalo-based recording and performing artists Shawn Elliot Lewis and Suzanne Bonifacio have made names for themselves on the experimental electronic music scene. Shawn is known by his following as Lesionread and Suzanne’s audiences know her by the stage name Space Cubs. The two artists were working in their West Side studio when WBFO Arts and Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett sat down to talk with them.


On this week's Theater Talk, Anthony discusses the difficulties with mounting a review such as SOPHISTICATED LADIES now at MusicalFare, Peter shares a moment while watching Eric Rawski and Caitlin Coleman in STEVE, and both agree on Theater of Youth's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER.

The Buffalo Connection: Rob Lieberman

Feb 6, 2017
Private Eyes / Global Television Network

Tim O’Shei of The Buffalo News has been traveling around the country visiting Western New Yorkers who’ve made it to the highest levels of show business and pop culture. Sunday's paper included his latest feature, with a profile of Buffalo native Rob Lieberman, who became one of the most successful commercial directors in the world, and is still hard at work filming television and movies.


This week on Theater Talk, Peter and Anthony talk about the fast-paced swordplay (choreographed by Steve Vaughan) at Theatre of Youth's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER which is good for anyone 8 to 80 years old. STEVE continues at Buffalo United Artists at the Alleyway Theatre complex, described as "middle aged gay men behaving badly." And in a Buffalo coup, Rajiv Joseph had his play ARCHDUKE read by Buffalo actors over at Buffalo State before he takes it to California. IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU "shoulda been" a little tighter, but both Peter and Anthony had a good time at this O'Connell and Company production, and were very pleased to see Sara Kovasci move into the lead role so seamlessly.

raicestheatrecompany.com

Anthony reports that despite stunning production elements, the plot of FRANKENSTEIN dragged a little (often a problem when the playwright and the director are the same person), but there is one gotcha! moment you won't want to miss and everyone agrees that Steve Copps as "the monster" is definitely worth seeing. Theatre of Youth opens THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER at the Allentown tomorrow at 2 pm. and it's up through March 5. STEVE, all about middle aged gay men, features a number of Buffalo's middle aged gay actors and there are many funny moments. And MARIELA IN THE DESERT delivers on many levels, with a well crafted play, clever staging, an ending that is a surprise, starring the talented Victoria Perez in the title role and great scene stealing moments from Melinda Capeles Rowe as Mariela's maiden sister-in-law.

After the holidays, the theater scene takes a moment to get back in gear, but this weekend, BANG!, we're back and running with seven, count 'em, seven openings. We have a play with incidental music (AMADEUS), an operetta ("PIRATES"), and an actual modern musical (42nd STREET). We have a scary play, familiar because of the Hitchcock movie, (DIAL M FOR MURDER) and scary play familiar because of many, many movies (FRANKENSTEIN), as well as a not-so-familiar drama about a family's coming apart (MARIELA IN THE DESERT). And we have a play about something that scares us all.... getting older, less vital, and more marginalized, with STEVE, presented as part of the Buffalo United Artist's 25th anniversary year. For a conversation between Theater Talk's Peter Hall and Irish Classical's Vincent O'Neill and Fortunato Pezzimenti, click here.

Johanna Fogle / haydenfogle.com

Hayden Fogle demonstrated his prodigious blues guitar skills at age 12, performing on stage at the UB Center for the Arts with blues guitar legend Buddy Guy. Now at age 16, he has teamed up with guitarist and singer Vince De Rosa. The duo will perform at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in late January.  WBFO Blues host Pat Feldballe recently spoke to the pair.


In FRANKENSTEIN, on stage from January 20th through February 12th Director David Oliver has adapted Mary Shelley's classic gothic novel to the turn of the twentieth century, where the conflicts of "child vs. parent", "God vs Man", and "man vs. machine" take on new meaning. Meanwhile, over at the Kavinoky the unnamed "Pilot" in GROUNDED, staring at a computer screen, starts to blur the boundaries of "woman vs. machine" as modern drone warfare has its affect on her psyche.

This week marked the 50th anniversary of the death of visionary American landscape painter Charles Burchfield. WBFO Arts and Culture Desk reporter Scott Sackett recently visited the Hamlet of Gardenville, the place that inspired many of Burchfield's works, for a look at his legacy.


Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

The Kavinoky Theatre is the first out of the gate for 2017 with an opening tonight, an intense 90-minute one woman play written by George Brant, GROUNDED, directed by Kristen Tripp Kelley, starring Aleks Malejs [say "malaise"] as an Air Force jet fighter pilot who is grounded due to pregnancy and spends her days in a windowless trailer piloting drones. And the Kavinoky has announced the opening of their 2017-2018 season with THE PRODUCERS starring Brian Myslivy and Norm Sham (as Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock, characters brought to the big screen by Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane).

GROUNDED, a one-woman play by George Brant

African American playwright August Wilson wrote a series of 10 plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, and finally one of them has become a major motion picture, schedule for wide release on December 25.

CSA Images/Printstock Collection / Getty Images

It's hard to imagine a time when red and green weren't synonymous with Christmas, but they haven't always been the holiday's go-to colors. Arielle Eckstut, co-author of Secret Language of Color, attributes the palette's rise to two things: holly and Coca-Cola.

If it's on stage this week, it's a holiday show, for sure, but some are better than others.

Whether you've lived in Western New York all your life, arrived recently, or only visit for the holidays, there's probably something for you in Right Here, Right Now: The Buffalo Anthology. The book takes a wide-ranging look at the community and the good and bad of its past. WBFO's Mike Desmond spoke with Jody Biehl, director of UB's Journalism Program and the editor of the new anthology.


As the president-elect continues to make nominations to his cabinet, we’re getting a clearer picture of how Donald Trump will govern. But how will the Trump administration affect arts and culture in the United States?

Moving from the East Side (the African American Cultural Center) to the West Side of Main Street (at Shea's 710 Main Theatre) the Paul Robeson Theatre opened CHRISTMAS IS COMIN' UPTOWN, a musical based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Scrooge is now a Harlem slumlord about to foreclose an apartment house, a recreation center and a church when his late partner and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future take him on their rounds. There's one addition to the classic tale-- a rousing gospel number in a baptist church.

Derek Gee

Tim O’Shei of The Buffalo News has been traveling around the country visiting Western New Yorkers who’ve had a big impact on pop culture. His latest feature in The Buffalo Connection series – which hit print yesterday – is a profile on Bob Kinkel, co-founder of the global music phenomenon Trans-Siberian Orchestra. For more than three decades, the Williamsville native has been sharing his music with the world, and his career is coming full circle.


WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

For the first time ever, eminent classical composer Krysztof Penderecki of Poland will be performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Saturday and Sunday. The concert is titled "Poland's Maestro." WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley had a chance to meet with him to discuss his work.     

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